Girl: My Childhood and the Second World War

Girl: My Childhood and the Second World War

Girl: My Childhood and the Second World War

Girl: My Childhood and the Second World War

Synopsis

Alona Frankel was just two years old when Germany invaded Poland. After a Polish carpenter agreed to hide her parents but not her, Alona's parents desperately handed her over to a greedy woman who agreed to hide her only as long as they continued to send money. Isolated from her parents and living among pigs, horses, mice, and lice, Alona taught herself to read and drew on scraps of paper. The woman would send these drawings to Alona's parents as proof that Alona was still alive. In time, the money ran out and Alona was tossed into her parents' hiding place, at this point barely recognizing them. After Poland's liberation, Alona's mother was admitted to a terminal hospital and Alona handed over to a wealthy, arrogant family of Jewish survivors who eventually cast her off to an orphanage. Despite these daily horrors and dangers surrounding her, Alona's imagination could not be restrained. A powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit,Girlis the story of a young girl's self-preservation through a horrible war and its aftermath. Faithful to the perspective of the heroine herself, Frankel, now a world renowned children's author and illustrator, reveals a little girl full of life in a terrible, evil world.

Excerpt

I was familiar with two kinds of lice, head lice and clothes lice. Only later did I learn of the existence of another kind, pubic lice, from the four-volume Encyclopedia of Sexual Knowledge that survived from the Jewish gynecologist’s library. The doctor himself, his mother, wife, two daughters, and baby son were murdered by the Germans. That was at the beginning of the war. When Hania Seremet took me out of the village where I was hiding, pretending to be a Christian child, and dumped me at my parents’ hiding place, I learned for the first time the difference between head lice and clothes lice—an important and meaningful difference. When I was in the village, the lice never bothered me. They swarmed all over me, and of course I scratched constantly. I thought that’s how it was in the world. More than once, a careless louse would get caught under my nail. More than once one dropped out of my hair when I bent my head. What was the fate of such an adventurous louse that suddenly loses the head of its little Jewish girl? None of that worried me, everything was natural. Sleeping on straw in a coffin that was a bench by day and a bed by night . . .
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